Content Warning: Includes a discussion of racism and police violence
The attack on George Floyd during the trial of Derek Chauvin has been a view into the racist systems attacking the bodily autonomy of Black folks in the U.S. for over 400 years.
As we await the verdict on whether former Officer Chauvin will be rightfully convicted for murdering Mr. Floyd, our staff discussions have turned to how this entire process has exposed the failures in our police departments, court systems, mayors, and governors. As Black organizers and organizations have said for a long time, we do not have a system of justice in America.
In watching this trial, one of the most startling moments was when Officer Chauvin’s attorney’s attempted to make a legal attack against the quality of Mr. Floyd’s actual heart. They discussed the integrity of his arteries and his heart in an attempt to shift blame onto Mr. Floyd and away from how Mr. Chauvin killed George Floyd by placing his knee on Floyd’s neck.
They blamed George Floyd’s body for what that cop did.
This trial has certainly been deeply painful for Mr. Floyd’s family, friends, and his community. We know this process has been a source of stress for Black communities around the world and for the people who love and support them.
As we see this attempt by police to use his body against him, it makes us also think of people living with disabilities and how society blames their bodies instead of accepting responsibility for how we fail to extend the same care and accommodations to them as we extend to ourselves.
The board and staff at NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio are hoping for for a guilty verdict to return some semblance of justice to the universe. Even under the most appropriate outcome, we know that we still need to see police be held accountable in many other cases, including in the killings of Casey Goodson Jr. and Andre Hill in Columbus, Tamir Rice in Cleveland, and so many others across this state and nation.
The fight for police accountability directly connects to the fight for bodily autonomy. We must end police violence and over policing in Black communities and other communities of color.
Our government cannot be allowed to serve as a weapon against the people.